Raising Hell or Helen?

I've often said that being a mother feels like having a steel pole driven through your body and the only way it will kill you is if it's removed. Now it's true that there are many joys associated with parenthood. But there are just as many deep sorrows. If not just those experienced when you see your child suffer to the smallest degree. If we could, we would shield them from every potential pitfall. The unfortunate thing is that, in this day and age, you really can protect them from most every type of peril. Makes us wonder, why would we do this? Think it through. The people we admire the most in the world. They have been through some serious shit! And how did they become so admirable? Getting through that serious shit! I know we have good intentions in our attempts to keep our children unharmed. Of course we should protect them. Try to give them situations in which they can grow, in a controlled environment. But the adage is true that you begin letting go of your child from the moment they are born. The fact that you have to let them go from your body is the first step in the process. And every step after that is no easier than that first one.

Many believe in holding on tightly to their children until they leave the nest. Now this sort of letting go is much more painful than the ones that naturally occur in their time (remember, I'm including labor and childbirth in this category). And I believe it to be much more damaging to the child.

Honestly, the heartache of raising children can be so deeply melancholy, I very often tell people that motherhood is overrated. And being a grandmother is even worse. Now you have a child whose life you really have absolutely no control over. Anything can happen! Talk about letting go! When I chose the tattoo to represent the birth of my first grandchild, I was sifting through some maori tribal symbols. She is a real maori princess and I decided to just be presumptuous and believe that the tribal people would allow me the privilege of wearing one of their signs. I seriously considered using the symbol which meant "sorrow." But I decided on "hope."

So, now that my children are all grown, my thoughts often turn to wondering, "what will really become of them?" You see them go through bigger struggles every day. You see them overcome them. Others looking on might think, "Oh those kids are just going nowhere," but I know those kids. I know their hearts. I don't feel the need to worry about their welfare because I know them to have strong characters. I've discovered that they possess the qualities that are necessary for any little or big thing that they might need to deal with. And their bond provides the benefit of their being able to help one another when they are weak. These are the things that are of real value. They even help me from time to time! Now that is cool, when your kids encourage and uplift you when you're down. Yeah, they did it in a sense when they were even babies. Babies always put your feet back on the ground and remind you what's important. But now they give the gift of real generosity of spirit. So those are what I call successful adults.